Monday, May 3, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Teen Witch (1989)

Watched:  04/30/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1980's
Director:  I don't care

We're wrapping up our Friday Night Watch Parties this coming week, and maybe that's all for the best.  For - I may never top Teen Witch (1989) as an offering.  It's all downhill from here.  

It's one thing when people make a movie and try and it doesn't live up to expectations.  It's another when you can tell someone was pushing out garbage to take advantage of a place in the market and literally seemed to not care how the movie turned out.  And that's being generous, because the alternative with Teen Witch is to accept that adults made this film and this was their moonshot, and then we have to wonder: do you know how movies work?

Because Teen Witch is a movie only in that it's printed to film and lasts about 90 minutes.  No matter what, minute after minute, for 90 minutes, it just keeps happening, relentlessly, at you.  

Things you fix at the script stage like motivations, cause and effect, reasons for things occurring on screen - none of that applies in the world of Teen Witch.  Characters who were in the room who would have something to say about the events unfolding in that room (namely: Randa, the popular girl who seems harmless, tbh) simply vanish when you'd think maybe even a reaction shot of their boyfriend about to do the lambada with our titular Teen Witch would draw some feeling.  But: no.  No, we will not see Randa.  And we will not worry that the Teen Witch maybe hurled her cousin into a purgatorial void of non-existence.  

The movie features some weird casting.  Their marquee name is Dick Sargent, cashing in on the idea of domestic witchery.  But it also cast Joshua John Miller - who you will remember from The River's Edge and Near Dark as the kinda psycho kid.  Here - he was clearly told to improvise.  Zelda Rubinstein you absolutely know from Poltergeist.  And, of course, Marcia Wallace, who is now most famous as the voice of Ms. Krabapple on The Simpsons, but who was a "that lady" actor for decades, including a recurring role on The Bob Newhart Show.  

Star Robyn Lively has gone on to do everything from Twin Peaks to the upcoming Powerpuff Girls live-action show.   She's working, looks smashing, and seems to be enjoying her notoriety for Teen Witch.  

Look, this movie has resurfaced in the last few years as an artifact of a certain time and place, and in a "How Did This Get Made?" sort of context - but it is clearly an artifact of madness.  The movie as it is makes no sense and hopes the audience will fill in gigantic plotholes while also sitting patiently through the worst, least-motivated rap performances ever committed to film.   It's the kind of movie that thinks you need for characters to stand up in class if they're talking and gesticulate wildly, like they're playing to the back of the auditorium.  (which reminds me, there's an utterly unmotivated and unnecessary scene making fun of sex-ed courses.  It's just bizarre, y'all).  You will want to punch a good 1/2 of the characters just to make them stop doing what the director asked them to do.  

Anyway.  Teen Witch.